A/N: I always make fun of Hiyoshi. I always portray him as the guy from Hyoutei that nobody knows or cares about, and I always do it in a stupid way. Then I got to thinking -- what if that was really true? Ah, poor Hiyoshi. Still, at least I'm giving him a real story now. Maybe he'll forgive me...and then again, maybe he won't.

I'm just completely making stuff up, here. I don't know too much about Hiyoshi (if there's anything to know...*snicker* Oh, I should stop being so mean to him) so I decided that for the purposes of this fic, I would allow myself to invent an alternate world where raindrops are made of chocolate. Er...yes.



Invisible
by Cheeseburger of Doom


Hiyoshi Wakashi was a bitter person by nature. He was very easily annoyed by the slightest little things, and he hated when things didn't go his way.

And things never seemed to go his way.

He always did his best, but it was never good enough. His goals were always just out of his reach. He could never touch them, no matter what he did...

Hiyoshi wasn't usually given to depression, but lately, he couldn't help himself. He was beginning to feel worthless, helpless. Why was it that he couldn't get recognition for his talents? He was a damn fine tennis player, and just because he'd lost to that brat didn't mean anything. That had been a fluke, anyway. He should have won.

Why didn't anyone notice him? He felt like a ghost. He was mostly ignored, even by his team-mates. He was one of the regulars, but he didn't fit in very well with them. Sure, he had the attitude required for a regular on the snob team of Hyoutei -- but for some reason, that attitude just didn't seem to be enough. The rest of them were tight-knit, somehow...Even Jiroh, who slept most of the time.

Whenever Hiyoshi was with them, he was just...there. He was there because he was a regular, and that was that. If he hadn't been there, no one would have noticed; but he was certain if one of the others had been missing, they would actually be...well, missed.

He wouldn't.

It was getting to him.

He could try and convince himself that he didn't need anyone. He could try and convince himself that he would one day soon secure himself a position in the world, and it would no longer matter what other people thought...

He could tell himself all that, but he didn't really believe it.

Why didn't anyone give a damn about him, anyway?

~~~~~

Hiyoshi usually had a sour expression on his face. It was a combination of "I'm better than you so don't mess with me" and "I'm better than you, so why aren't you paying attention to me, damn it?" Yes, he came across as very bitter...whenever someone actually took the time to notice, which was rare.

Hiyoshi Wakashi, the one no one cared about. Of course everyone knew Atobe -- who could forget a peacock like him? The two doubles pairs were legendary -- Shishido and Ohtori for their sickeningly sweet attachment to each other, and Oshitari and Mukahi because, well...they were Oshitari and Mukahi. Then there was Jiroh -- the one who slept all the time. Even Kabaji was recognized, as the minion of Atobe.

Who was Hiyoshi Wakashi? The other guy.

Hiyoshi wasn't exactly thrilled to be with the other regulars at Atobe's cottage, for training. Most of the time, they ignored his presence, because they were wrapped up in each other (or in themselves, like Atobe). Once again, Hiyoshi was just there.

He was even less thrilled when he learned that they were going to be having practice matches with the regulars from Seigaku's tennis team. He didn't want to face them again. Especially not the brat, Echizen. He wanted to play him again, and win this time -- then again, if possible, he would rather avoid the kid altogether.

Seigaku. Now, there was a team whose members were all remembered. Damn it...They seemed so close-knit, and all of them were so indispensable. Maybe if he was on that team, someone would care about him, one way or the other. It wasn't so cut-throat there; they didn't have to fight as hard to keep their spot.

To Hiyoshi, Hyoutei was the best, though -- so even if he'd had the choice to go to Seigaku, he wouldn't. He wanted to be the best. Somehow, he would have to figure out how to make people notice him.

~~~~~

Hiyoshi was both disappointed and relieved to learn he wouldn't be playing Echizen, but instead, would be playing the data-man of Seigaku instead.

Inui Sadaharu...was weird. That was the best way Hiyoshi could think to describe him. Something about the glasses, and the hair-do, and his creepy smile all seemed to scream "pervert!".

However, Hiyoshi was rather shocked when Inui announced that he had all of Hiyoshi's data. Had he actually been paying that much attention? It had seemed that everyone's attention had been focused on Echizen during that match -- even the attention of Hyoutei's members had been drawn to the boy.

Inui had actually watched him.

Their match ended in a tie. Hiyoshi couldn't look Inui in the face, as he told him that he would have won, had their been a tie-breaker. He couldn't mask his surprise when he learned that Inui was covered in heavy weights, either.

It was also a little embarrassing when he realized that he'd basically just pulled Inui's shirt off in front of other people, as well. Now there was something that might get him noticed if he did it more often -- but not noticed in the way he wanted to be.

Then Inui walked away, and it was all over. Hiyoshi stared almost longingly at that retreating back, the back of the one person who had actually given a damn...somewhat of a damn, anyway.

~~~~~

Hiyoshi didn't really expect to see Inui again, but he couldn't get the glasses-wearing pervert-type out of his head. He kept thinking of how much he did want to see the boy again, if only because he wanted to hear someone say, "I remember you."

I collected all of your data during your match with Echizen...

He was frustrated with himself because of the way this was affecting him. He was beginning to act like a little boy with a crush...and that just wasn't something he wanted to think about. A crush on another guy? A weird perverted guy, at that.

He wanted to stop thinking about him, but he couldn't. He couldn't get those words out of his head.

He couldn't stop thinking about how much he longed for someone to say, "I want to get to know you better. I want to learn everything about you."

~~~~~

Hiyoshi had developed a bad attitude to go with his sour facial expression. He suspected that was one reason people were put off him, but it wasn't the entire reason. It couldn't be. People who were icier than him had followers, at least. Look at Atobe -- everyone seemed to bow down and worship him, even though what he really deserved was a good smack right across his pretty face.

Hiyoshi knew that his own face was pretty, too -- so why the hell didn't anyone care?! He just paled in comparison to everyone else, and faded into the background as "the other guy".

It was becoming an obsession, but he couldn't help it. He was so lonely, and there seemed to be nothing he could really do about it.

That was probably the reason he found himself at Seigaku, lurking where he really shouldn't be, waiting for a certain someone to walk past.

He tried to appear casual, but inside he was squirming. Why was he here? What was this going to look like? What was he going to say?

Inui noticed him right away. Hiyoshi was a bit dismayed; he'd been hoping to catch Inui off-guard, maybe, and gain some confidence that way...but no, Inui saw him, and came right over.

"Hiyoshi-kun. What are you doing here?" Inui asked. The question was pleasant enough; he didn't sound annoyed at Hiyoshi's very presence. That was slightly comforting.

"I came to ask you for a rematch," Hiyoshi said. "I want to beat you for real, this time."

Inui's expression was unreadable, mostly because his eyes were hidden behind those glasses. Hiyoshi's insides were squirming again.

"But if you're busy, I'll come back another day," he added.

Inui's lips curved into a grin. That same grin that just seemed to scream "pervert!". Hiyoshi wondered why he was even bothering to analyze something like that in the first place, though...

"A rematch sounds very interesting," Inui replied, finally. Hiyoshi held back a sigh of relief, and he nodded. He was very good at keeping his face expressionless; or, rather, very good at keeping the same sour expression there without having it change...otherwise, Inui might have noticed something strange about him.

He was beginning to feel like a little boy with a crush again. Maybe this was a really bad idea, after all. It was too late to back out now, though.

~~~~~

It didn't take Inui very long to win. He was just that good.

Hiyoshi didn't know how to feel, at that moment. He stared at Inui's outstretched hand. How could he shake it, and admit his defeat? How could he?

He'd wanted to beat Inui, and prove his worth. He'd wanted to give Inui something to remember, forever...

Yet, being beaten by a data-whiz -- didn't that mean that Inui had memorized every detail of his tennis?

"It won't bite," Inui said, with a chuckle, referring to the hand that Hiyoshi was avoiding.

Hiyoshi didn't know how to respond to the teasing. He turned his back on Inui.

"I should have won."

"Maybe you will, next time, if you come up with something that can surprise me," Inui said.

That made Hiyoshi even angrier. His tennis was damn good as it was, but how could he compete against someone who already knew his every move? Why did he like it so much that Inui knew his every move? And why...why was did he feel like heaving a sigh when he thought...It's just tennis.

Just tennis?! Tennis was a huge part of his life. Tennis was what was going to get him noticed, one day.

Tennis was what had made Inui notice him...

But it was just tennis. No one knew anything about him, besides how he played; not even Inui, who had actually paid some attention to him.

No one gave a shit about Hiyoshi Wakashi the person. Nobody.

"Hiyoshi-kun? It's getting late. I should be going."

"Yeah. Get lost," Hiyoshi mumbled. He shoved his hands into his pockets, and began to walk away.

"Are you always this grumpy?" Inui asked, "Or are you in a bad mood?"

The question caught him by surprise. "What does it matter?"

"I was just curious. There's an eighty percent chance that your inviting me to play tennis had some ulterior motives. Are you by any chance lonely?"

"..." That stopped Hiyoshi in his tracks. How could Inui possibly know? Well, he was the data expert, he probably knew everything.

"At first I thought that your bad attitude was caused by your ego, but that's not entirely true, is it?"

"What the hell do you care?" Hiyoshi demanded. "And how the hell do you know anything about me?"

"I asked around," Inui replied. "I have my sources. No one really knew much about you."

"Why bother asking around about me?"

Inui flashed that grin. "Because you're interesting."

Hiyoshi was taken aback. "I'm...interesting?"

Inui chuckled. "Let's play again, sometime," he said. Hiyoshi was a little disturbed by the double meaning to the statement, but decided he would ignore it.

"I'll win, next time," he said. This time, he could look Inui in the eye.

"Hm, maybe you will. Whatever the case, I want to know more about you, Hiyoshi Wakashi."

Those were the words he'd been dying to hear. Hiyoshi suddenly didn't care anymore if he felt like a little boy with a crush. As long as he could hold onto this person who cared.

Hiyoshi Wakashi was happy, that day. Happier than he'd been in a very long time. He smiled at Inui -- surprising even himself. He couldn't remember the last time he'd actually smiled.

"Well, it really is getting late. I'll see you soon," Inui said. Hiyoshi knew that he meant that as a promise. "Oh, and Hiyoshi-kun?"

"What?"

"You're very cute when you're pouting."

Hiyoshi turned bright red. "I do not pout!"

"Ah, and you're even cuter when you blush. Ii data."

Hiyoshi fled. It was just his luck that his new friend was a pervert! Although, he didn't really mind so much.

I want to know more about you, Hiyoshi Wakashi.

I want to know who you are, and how your mind works -- and I want to know your heart...




The End

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